So Craig and I are sadly back from our first trip to New Orleans. I say it that way because we FN LOVED IT and I know we will be going back in not too long. Here is my must do list for a trip to this remarkable city. Of course most things are related to food and drink.
1) GET BOURBON-FACED ON SHIT STREET.
This street is without-a-doubt the wildest, most fun place I’ve ever been to. Hand grenade in tow, you meander your way from bar to bar without any covers, lines, or even having to buy a drink at the bar you’re at. Just follow the music from place to place and before you know it, you are having the time of your life. Seriously up there as the most fun we have ever had.
Specific Bourbon street Must Do’s:
a) Drink a hand grenade from any of the Tropical Isle bars. Supposedly the strongest drink on the street, it’s also actually super tasty, with a Midori melon flavor. One or two of these and you will be feeling EXCELLENT.
b) Live music. Anywhere and everywhere.
c) Find a emcee you like at a bar and if you’re like me, dance on the stage with them. Fat Catz has particularly great emcees and super fun music. They are funny, entertaining, and get the crowd going crazy. Such a unique element to a bar (for me at least). Like the guys from b’nai mitzvahs but for wasted and happy dancing adults.
d) Eat a Lucky Dog. A yummy quality (and extra long) hot dog that would have been good even if we hadn’t been smashed. The perfect dinner after a huge lunch (#5) and a few hours at the bars.
2) DINNER AT EMERIL’S RESTAURANT NOLA, IN THE FRENCH QUARTER
By far our favorite dinner we had. Emeril comes up with the yummiest dishes and they all have yummy sauces and lots of schmaltz. For example, we both had the filet mignon covered in a thin layer of blue cheese and fried onion strings over a bed of red bliss potatoes with bacon chunks, walnuts and incredible brown sauce. We started with the signature app, the bbq shrimp and fried green tomatoes topped with shrimp. Both excellent. Plus the atmosphere is vibrant and fun and the service was wonderful.
3) TRY THE CHARGRILLED OYSTERS FROM ACME OYSTER HOUSE.
They come covered in parmesan cheese and doused in the tastiest salty garlic butter sauce with bread for soaking it up. A holy-fuck-this-is-good food experience.
4) TAKE A SWAMP TOUR
This was a blast and sitting in the middle of a bayou and seeing a Cajun fishing village was a very unique experience. Just bring layers because we were freezing our asses off.
5) GO TO THE JAZZ BRUNCH BUFFET AT COURT OF TWO SISTERS
I stuffed my face off at this lovely place with a too-die-for lunch buffet. This was a great way to try lots of creole southern dishes. Take small portions! And they have a huge mound of boiled crawfish, which is a must eat thing in NOLA. Messy but worth the trouble. The meat is sweeter but tender like lobster. Some of my favorite dishes: crawfish pasta salad, creamed spinach, biscuits, braised veal, blue cheese potato salad and something called crawfish louise. YUMBO
6) ORDER A BLOODY MARY
They come with delicious garnishes, including pickled green beans which I am now in love with. I bought a jar from the French Market flea market.
7) LISTEN TO LIVE MUSIC IN THE STREETS AND BARS AND SUPPORT YOUR FAVE BANDS BY BUYING THEIR CDS.
I bought two different ones and I can’t wait to listen to them and be transported back to the French Quarter. Check out Frenchman Street for great live music nightly. Neither Craig nor I are big brass band fans (which they had a lot of at those places) but we were able to find a band (the Geb Rault Band) playing more bluesy-rock original music. Took home their album, as well as a fourteen piece (including two dancers and one singer) jazz band (The Smoking Time Jazz Club) that I picture playing during small gatherings or dinner parties (one day). These bands all have myspace pages and record records. The Smoking Time Jazz Club plays outside Brennan’s in front of the church step. Amazing location. It’s very cool to support music like that.
8 ) TAKE A HORSE-DRAWN CARRAIGE TOUR.
This was a blast. It lasts a half an hour and takes you around the French Quarter. It’s the kind of tour I will do every time I go to New Orleans again in the future. Plus our cowboy driver/tour guide was a big believer in ghosts and he told us super interesting, funny ghost stories. (Funny to us, not him).
9) DRINKS AT LAFITTE’S BLACKSMITH SHOP, THE OLDEST BAR AND BUILDING IN THE COUNTRY
The building was built sometime before 1772. It’s named after a pirate and is known for its ghosts and being haunted. We grabbed seats at the piano bar and gave requests for songs. She had a old deep raspy voice and it was really cool. Go at night because there is no electricity. They light it by candle light just like they have for centuries. A very romantic drink spot for couples or just a super cool place.
10) GRAB A QUICK LUNCH AT JOHNNY PO’BOYS
We split a roast beef and gravy one and a fried oyster one. We got them “dressed,” which means mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Obviously the way to go. The bread, from Ledieheimer Bakery, is so light and flaky. Most po’boys in the city get their bread from there and so do the restaurants, including Commander’s Palace and Brennan’s. These sandwiches are obviously a must do. You gotta try po’boys in this city at least once and this pic of the fried oyster one speaks for itself.
So those were (some of) the highlights from our trip. Writing this was one way for me to savor the trip. Craig and I CANNOT wait to go back. Despite the hangovers and stomach aches, we will miss Bourbon Street and the rest of the city every day until we go back.